An independent contractor is defined by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) as "any person, partnership, corporation, subsidiary of a corporation, firm, association or other organization that contracts to perform services or construction at a mine." Contractors that perform specific types of work are required to report the number of employees who work at coal mines and noncoal mines. Companies: In 2007, a total of 5,400 contracting companies reported employment at noncoal mines to MSHA, or 64.3% of all independent contracting companies. Employees: A total of 67,844 employees, corresponding to 38,151 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, were reported by noncoal contractors to MSHA. 1. Within the mining sectors, noncoal contractor employees comprised 11.3% of all employee hours reported to MSHA. 2. Noncoal contractor employee hours were re-ported for both underground (5.1%) and surface (94.9%) work locations. Fatalities: Twelve occupational fatalities occurred among non-coal contractor employees in 2007, accounting for 66.7% of all fatalities attributed to independent contractors. 1. The noncoal contractor fatality rate for all work locations was 33.3 fatalities per 100,000 FTE. Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries: There were 497 nonfatal lost-time injuries among noncoal contractor employees (43 at underground and 454 at surface work locations) with an overall rate of 1.4 injuries per 100 FTE employees. These injuries resulted in 22,290 days lost from work. 1. The underground nonfatal lost-time injury rate for noncoal contractor employees was 2.2 per 100 FTE workers, while the surface rate was 1.3. 2. The most frequent classification of nonfatal lost-time injuries reported for noncoal contractor employees involved handling materials (n=190; 38.2%), followed by slips or falls (n=97; 19.5%). 3. Sprains and strains were the most frequently reported nature of injury (n=179; 36.0%). 4. In 2007, the most frequently reported body parts injured were the fingers (n=85; 17.1%; 5,462 days lost from work) and the back (n=75; 15.1%; 2,255 days lost from work).
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236